Where does money come from?
I can’t think of a more important or confusing question. When we run short of something in our daily lives we normally do something about it. Whether we are short of carrots, cars, computers or crayons we don’t have to think too hard about what to do. We go to the dealer, supermarket or art supply shop and get what we need.
The truth is that in this age of plenty we rarely run short of anything. We might lack one of these items as individuals. Not everyone has a car or computer. However, society rarely if ever runs out of anything. Our supermarkets are always stocked with food. A variety of stores provide just about anything we need. The one thing we are short of, as a society, is money. So why don’t we figure out where it comes from and do something about it?
Who does, you reply.
Yet, as anthropologist David Graeber explains, most of us believe it is our moral responsibility to repay our debts. We are even more fervently convinced that others should pay them. There is a strange, largely unexamined tension between these two positions and it is a tension we will be forced to reconcile in the near future. As members of the second most indebted households in the world, Australians will have plenty of moral responsibility to address. We will also develop a growing intimacy with friendly collections agencies.
I don’t like debt collectors because they offend my social sensibilities. The person that comes to your house demanding money with menace has come to a strange place if you welcome their arrival. If you don’t think there is veiled threat behind such a relationship, try not paying and see how it works out. Happily, with the arrival of the mobile phone, the notion of home and your personal space has taken on a much wider dimension. The debt collector can reach you anytime and anywhere.
“There aren’t many groups as pilloried as dole bludgers and welfare cheats so when the Turnbull Government announced a major crackdown in 2016 most Australians were happy to see it. That move has relied heavily on automation to pursue suspected rorters.“
This was Leigh Sales’ gentle introduction to a story about Robodebt and the victimisation of people on unemployment benefits. The program introduced us to a couple of people who may have been treated harshly but there are always exceptions. This segment was unlikely to shake the standard pejorative view of the unemployed. The majority of these 400,000 Robodebt targets still have the bailiffs at the door.
A few months ago I came across a 2009 interview between the Chaser’s Julian Morrow and Peter Meakin. I wonder how many people outside of the media know who he is. Meakin is currently Executive Director of News and Current Affairs at Network Ten after filling similar roles at the Seven and Nine networks. To use a Chris Uhlmann term, Meakin has been a “player” in our politics for 45 years. He became the producer of “A Current Affair” in 1973 when Mike Willesee employed him directly to produce the show.
This was an interesting time. Business wanted action to ensure it received the respect it deserved. We needed a business led revolution and our corporate leaders were going to give us one. It was, in short, the start of neoliberalism in Australia.
JULIE BISHOP WITH THE RICH AND FAMOUS
Our Julie, yes our very own Julie will be interviewing “the rich and famous” in some of the world most exclusive locations”. After years of dedicated public service, it looks like its time to serve Julie… to the world. The intuition that told her the Russians had brought down MH17 exactly 7 minutes and 8 seconds after the crash will now draw out the inner secrets of the glitterati.
The production company that gave you Anh’s Brush with Fame and Trial by Kyle now presents Julie in conversation. How can you add to such a thrilling prospect? Can you? Well, you can have Julie walk while she talks. And imagine the costumes. Maybe we’ll see the return of some of those glittering outfits she wore as Foreign Minister and be reminded of public money well spent.
JULIE BISHOP’S FOREIGN AFFAIR
The average Fijian family lives on A$150 a week. They’re probably not paying Sydney housing mortgage or rental prices but they’re unlikely to be living it up. The great news is that for just $4,997 the head of the family or one of their bright kids can learn all about leadership from our very own Julie Bishop in this five day retreat.
When I bought the Australian Financial Review on the Monday morning following the May 18 Federal election, there was something strange about it. It felt like a small brick. Excited by the prospect of this bumper edition, I sped to my local café for a great morning’s reading. By the time I’d reached page 3, it was clear what had happened. Each sentence was lined with smug. Some particularly heavy pages at the back were recorded in schadenfreude font.
My grandmother died at 61 and my Dad at 67. Both were smokers. They both had choice though my Dad, who lost his leg at 11, probably had less than most after he fell under a Paddington tram. His schooling ended the same day. Travers Beynon has choice and he has chosen not to smoke but he is doing his bit to make sure others do. He owns 300 cigarette vending machines and over 300 franchised FreeChoice outlets. There is even one in my little town. This champion of free choice draws the comparison of his own love of racing cars and explains, “No-one tried to stop me when I started motor racing. If someone says that’s too dangerous, don’t do it. I’d be like…go to hell”. So he is a protector of free will.
He tells us in this Financial Review article, that he’s tried electronic cigarettes but they obviously conflict with the very tight dietary regime he follows. This is essential if he is to maintain his frenetic lifestyle. To charges of misogyny, evident in his Instagram images of women on dog leashes, he tells us his mother was his idol. His grandmother was known as “The General” and typical of the dominant women who shaped his life. It is obvious he cares deeply about the people within his orbit. Almost as much as he does for himself. It is equally obvious that he couldn’t give a damn about anyone else. That’s a free choice.
Relax. Worried about a robot taking your job? Find something else to worry about. They’re going to be our friends. This is the advice contained in a recent report released by lead author David Rumbens of Deloitte Accesss Economics. It’s the latest in the company’s “Building the Lucky Country” series. Surely, this is what you’ve been waiting for; a future mapped out by a leading financial organisation. I spent an exhilerating afternoon reading this page turner late last week and I can’t wait to share my findings.
Prior to 450 BC, the life of the average Roman was governed by unwritten customary laws. These laws were made and interpreted by a patrician (wealthy) class. Understandably, those who were without this knowledge, the plebeian class (commoners), figured themselves at a disadvantage when courts applied rules they didn’t know or understand. Public outcry demanded that these rules be presented in a code that could be inspected.
WHO ARE STIRLING GRIFF AND REX PATRICK?
You’re going to hear a lot about this duo in the next three years. Unless Pauline Hanson gets over her sulk at being jilted for Clive, these two Centre Alliance radicals will hold the balance of power in the Senate. You thought the Senate would save us again. No, we will have to rely on the sensitivity and compassion of a Young and Rubicam marketer and a former Liberal staffer, electronics technician and submariner. The Liberal Party’s only other hope is Jacquie Lambie and based on her election night threats I’d be sticking with Rex and Griffo, if I were Scotty. It all looks pretty rosy for Scomo and his team with initial indications that these two Centre Alliance (formerly Nick Xenophon’s NXT) members will pass all three stages of the tax cuts. With salary increases for our politicians passing this week, what is there to complain about?